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Strategy One or Strategy Two? which side are you on?

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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:13 AM
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Strategy One or Strategy Two? which side are you on?
Which kind of Democrat are you?

Strategy One argues that Democrats can't do anything without power and that we need to overcome the party's "weak on defense" image that we were tagged with during the 1972 McGovern campaign and haven't been able to shake off since ... Among the many issues that comprise our new "tough guy" mantra is that we cannot call for massive cuts in the defense budget whether such cuts are warranted or not ... this is true even if overspending on defense is weakening the country and providing what is little more than a corporate welfare program for defense contractors ... Strategy One proponents believe we must "out tough" the republicans and calling for defense budget cuts is no way to do that ...

Strategy Two argues that the best policies make the best politics and that Democrats should call for deep cuts in the wasteful defense budget ... proponents of this argument understand that the military-industrial complex is a perfect manifestation of uncontrolled corporatism and the excessive influence of lobbyists and big money on our government and on our democracy ... and worse than that, such waste, fraud and abuse is making the country much weaker ... we cannot ignore the many pressing issues we face and continue to badly overfund unnecessary and exorbitant weapons systems ... those believing in this approach call for making deep cuts in military procurements because they understand that the wars we will be fighting will not be won primarily with technology but will be fought on the ground with manpower, diplomacy and political strategy ... proponents of Strategy Two believe that the country will rally around a rational call for steep reductions in unnecessary military spending ...


source: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0819-01.htm

Major Arms Soar to Twice Pre-9/11 Cost
Systems to Have Little Direct Role in Terror Fight


The estimated costs for the development of major weapons systems for the US military have doubled since September 11, 2001, with a trillion-dollar price tag for new planes, ships, and missiles that would have little direct role in the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The soaring cost estimates -- disclosed in a report for the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee -- have led to concerns that supporters of multibillion-dollar weapons programs in Congress, the Pentagon , and the defense industry are using the conflicts and the war on terrorism to fulfill a wish-list of defense expenditures, whether they are needed or not for the war on terrorism. <skip>

The Government Accountability Office, the government's nonpartisan audit bureau, warned of ``the risks of conducting business as usual," and concluded in a report in November that the major weapons programs are at ``high risk" for fraud, waste, abuse , and mismanagement.

The Department of Defense ``has experienced cost overruns, missed deadlines, performance shortfalls, and persistent management problems," the report said. ``In light of the serious budget pressures facing the nation, such problems are especially troubling."

The GOP committee report was blunt about the impact of rising weapons costs on the federal budget, and expressed little confidence that Congress has the political will to reign in spending on weapons that are not critical to the war effort. Noting that ``every project has local employment implications," the report said ``weapon system politics" will make it extremely difficult to make cuts.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:17 AM
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1. I Think Clinton's Way Was the Most Effective
During the campaign, he talked tough on defense and even proposed keeping systems like the Seawolf submarine that the military was not excited about.

Once in office, he did not make dramatic sweeping cuts, but slowly reduced the military as a proportion of the budget during his two terms in office. Like the deficit reductions, the military drawdowns were dramatic over the course of two terms in office.
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welshTerrier2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. so, Dems should be a walking commercial for the MIC
we should campaign for keeping all the systems, even the unnecessary ones ... we should ingrain in the American people an understanding that we need all the defense systems that have been requested and that we should reject the counsel of those who warn us that such systems are making the country weaker ...

as educators of the public, the party's message on defense should be more, more and still more ...

then, while no one is looking, once we're in power, we can quietly and with little notice nibble away at the waste, fraud and abuse ...

the problem with this is that Clinton still got tagged as a "gutting the military" and "weak on defense" president and we never made the case for the policies he pursued ...
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. We Could Take the George McGovern Option
Be a real-life war hero, call for justified cuts in the military and an end to jingoistic wars, and then watch as a Republican majority steamrolls the country for years on end.

That would be a plan.

I care about action rather than words. Clinton did not govern as a warmonger, and he was handily reelected. As a result, in the 1996 and 2000 campaigns, militarism and scaremongering were not important factors. That's the result of governing wisely and keeping the country out of unecessary trouble.

You are counting on the voting population to change its spots. I'm not.
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-21-06 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
3. I don't espouse either strategy
I think they both, on balance have more weaknesses than strengths. The weaknesses are made most clear in your final line for each posited strategy:

Strategy One proponents believe we must "out tough" the republicans and calling for defense budget cuts is no way to do that ...

and

proponents of Strategy Two believe that the country will rally around a rational call for steep reductions in unnecessary military spending ...

In overly simplistic terms, here's how I would salvage both positions by combining them into one:

Stinky believes we must "out tough" the republicans by rationally calling for steep reductions in unnecessary military spending.

The underlying logic in that is complex. And honestly, more than I have time to fully cover right now for this post. But essentially, it would hold that we do, indeed, have to out tough the Republicans. But not by being more war-like or belicose on the international scene. Rather, by calling out the Repuiblicans for their trash talking and profligate spending and lack of accountability. BUT ... and this is critical ..... we can NOT be seen to be ignoring the realities of the world as it exists today.

-- We *are* in Iraq. We need a plan to get out while doing the least damage possible. Some damage *will* be done.

-- We are not fighting old style wars, nation against nation, so much as we're fighting assymetrical conflicts of a loose international amalgam bent on doing harm to Western nations.

-- The (Republican controlled) Congress has failed miserably in its duties to provide oversight. Wiretapping (and other activities of that ilk) are effective measures that need not be weakened by the appplication of full and complete, and appropriate, oversight.

-- Call for fiscal responsibility as a matter separate and apart from defense spending. Defense spending needs ot be addressed on startegic and weapons-systems-specific bases, not on an overall fiscal basis. If the new Joint Strike Flying Frisbee is a boondoggle, call it out for the boondoggle it is. If no bid contracts to favored companies is the issue, call if out for the cronyism it is. Keep fiscal and defense issues separate.

-- We need more spokespeople like John Murtha. That is to say, people who are willing to speak truth to power, forcefully and unapologetically.

-- And posited elsewhere, we need to pick fights with the Republicans. Don't stay on defense. Go on offense with a blood lust and a killer instinct. If you can't run with the big dogs, stay the fuck on the porch. (That was not a reference to The Big Dawg)

-- Lastly, lose the fucking flag lapel pins. Wear kicking jackass pins in bright red white and blue. We're DEMOCRATS, goddam it. Stand for something and talk and do 'tough'.
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